Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Let Script Frenzy Begin!

I debated for maybe half a second to do something wacky today in honor of April Fools. Then I remembered that I'm HORRIBLE with pranks...

Also, I'm so gullible that on April 1st I'm just a walking ball of cynicism. I take EVERYTHING I hear or read today with a grain of salt.

Besides, Fools is not what April is about. It's about script writing!
Yes, unfortunately the Office of Letters and Light had to retire the program due to years of decrease in both funding and participation. But the concept lives on both as NaNo Rebels and in my heart. I didn't really attempt Script Frenzy last year, but I am going to give it another go this year. I may only get a handful of pages - opposed to the goal of 100pgs - but it will help jumpstart my writing and really push me forward with the X-Future reboot idea.

The real trick is that I've never written a script for a webcomic/comic/graphic novel before. It will be interesting to see how it works out. I also now have to think of spacing and how many panels I want per page. So I have to actually write in page breaks. I have to find a happy balance between describing the scene and how the characters work without OVERLY describing it. I imagine it being more detailed than an average script, but only by a little bit.

Thankfully, I have my handy dandy Celtx scripting program to assist. As Open Office is a free open-source writing program comparative to Microsoft Word, Celtx is a free alternative to Final Draft. Well, over the years it seems Celtx has transitioned in to an exclusively online pay-as-you-go program, but there's still sites where you can download the older versions for free and offline use.

Either way, I love this thing. It takes the guess work out of formatting and it has all of these other features that goes beyond simple script writing. I can storyboard, create character profiles - including wardrobe/costume/makeup notes, I can budget my play/film/show/etc, create a shoot schedule, write scenes out of order if I'm more inspired to work on one part over another. I actually did that last part my first year I did Script Frenzy. I downloaded Celtx as per Office of Letters and Light suggestion, and I worked with ChibiSunnie on our version of the never-produced "Hey, Arnold!" second movie.

This is how I actually met Chibi.

Anyway, around the end of Act I, I was getting bored with writing linearly. There was a scene close to the end of Act II that I had brewing, as well as the climactic fight scene with the villain, and another crucial scene towards the very end of the movie. Instead of drudging on through all the scenes in between, I used the "Jump Scenes" feature to write out the scenes I was inspired to, which kept me writing in the first place. We didn't complete our script, but we did get about 70-some pages in. Not too shabby for a first attempt.

Another fun feature of being able to write scenes out of order? If you create your script scene by scene. And then if you decide to switch some later on - or cut one out completely - you can do so easily without searching the whole script and scrolling through to the place you need.

But enough about how much I love Celtx. Let's talk about the project I'm starting today.

It kept me a few months of planning for April to figure out how to start. I really should have done more research - read more comics/webcomics/graphic novels/mangas - in order to get a better feel as to a good starting point for comics. Either way, I'm pretty confident in what I chose.

I'm planning to start mid-action. While Phfylburt, Hubby, and I all agreed upon a main cast of about 10 students, 7 villains, and 9 reworked X-Men canon characters, at the start of the comic the main four is Willow, Lia, Chayse, and Devon. The comic will start with them running from something. Unfortunately - especially since it's the beginning of the story I'm supposed to start today - I still don't quite know who or what they're running from. Whatever danger I create for them, I will still open with the kids being portrayed as average, normal teens. Then one of them will be forced to use his/her power to either protect the other three, or to finally go on the offensive. Again, I haven't figured out which yet. I also haven't decided WHERE I want them to be running. Should they be chased through the woods? A lot of intense scenes seem to have people being chased through the woods. It's familiar, but also cliche. How about through the nearby city in order to help establish the cyberpunk setting as it races by in the background? This idea could work, but the scenario driving them to race through the city will be trickier to figure out. What about an open field? The reader won't know it at first, but the students are running along the orphanage's estate grounds. Either way, watching them scramble will hopefully be enough to hook the reader.

After the "they're mutants" reveal, there will be a page break interrupting the action. The narrator then comes in for the next chapter: one that sets up the world of X-Future. The whole thing will be a brief history of the world; although the history I'm presenting may seem fairly long. Honestly, I'm only aiming for a handful of pages; the broad strokes. It will talk super briefly on the basics of evolution. Then the narrator will discuss how minor bits of evolutionary "DNA defect" - such as two different colored eyes, albinism, midget-/giantism, double jointedness, etc - became more noticeable - such as being born with a legit full-grown tail - and people became more and more mutated as the generations continued.

Scientists/doctors blamed the increasingly polluted environment and processed foods for these "Glitches in our children's DNA". Soon the term became a media buzzword for mutants: Glitches. It will be my world's equivalent to "Mutant", both the typical vernacular as well as a semi-hateful term. In the meantime, much like how Magneto tried to establish the word Homosuperior to replace Mutant, there will be a cry to use the term Preternatural - or some variant of it - instead of Glitch.

Now that the history of the world as a whole is told, it's time to discuss the more relevant history of the orphanage the students stay at. I'll quickly introduce my rebooted versions of Kitty "Shadowcat" Pryde and James "Wolverine" Howlett. Kitty felt bad for all the teenagers being abandoned by their shamed parents once their Glitch - powers/mutation - presented itself at puberty. She creates an orphanage and a school as safe haven for these Glitches. Kitty then strived to prove to humanity that Glitches have the same call for both good and evil as any normal human.

James - on the other hand - had a sterner and more grim approach. The regular humans were trying to exterminate Glitches, so why shouldn't they learn to defend themselves? They need to prepare like soldiers for a war, and then pray the training is never needed; better safe than sorry. He created The Arcade as a secret way to run virtual simulations to train Glitches in teamwork, survival, and power control. James created an elite team tasked to watch over Kitty's school in order to keep the Glitch children safe. Basically, the X-Men.

Once the world's main background is spelled out the book returns to the kids just as the one is using his/her powers. The fight sequence ends and it's revealed that it was just a training exercise. If I go with the scene where they're running across the field it will be revealed that it was a game of mutant tag or touch football. If the scene is them running through the woods it could be a game of mutant Manhunt; a variation of tag. If I go with the scene of them running though the city, the training would have been at The Arcade using The Orbs; a way to introduce the VR training.

Again, it's kinda bad that I'm trying to start this project and yet I'm still halted on how to actually START it. Hopefully I figure it out while I'm at work tonight since I won't be able to start writing until 8-ish.

Anyway, however the training session finishes and is revealed, I plan on having some of the students/faculty talk in order to develop more characterization, and then end book one with a nod towards the villains: the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, or at least my equivalent to them.

Not sure how many out of 100pgs that will kill, but it's a nice start, I think. If only I could figure out where I'm actually going with these scenes... Or if I could come up with some decent titles/names.

Well, I have work soon, so I guess I have to keep pondering while I'm out. In the meantime, drop a comment below if you have any name/title suggestions or if you're participating in Script Frenzy this month too.

1 comment:

  1. Hope its going well so far...I've done NaNo, but haven't attempted this one you're doing. Good luck. :-)